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The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career from Good to Great Hardcover – September 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Smith (The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers) examines the commonalities among individuals who transcended their dull day jobs to launch truly extraordinary careers. He is most taken with identifying what precipitated their leap into authentic and meaningful work, interviewing hundreds of people to craft replicable steps that everyone can use to initiate a personal and professional evolution and achieve remarkable success without taking reckless and unnecessary risks. His examples of highly profitable leaps include Sara Blakely, who went from a fax machine sales person to the owner of SPANX, a highly successful women's clothing line; Frances Hesselbein, who went from a stay-at-home mom to the executive director of Girl Scouts of America; and Brad Margus, who channeled his feelings of futility over the rare and terminal disease his two sons inherited to become a genetics expert on the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. Smith's book—a lively readable romp—motivates without preaching and gently coaxes readers to overcome innate fears and to use their greatest passions to bring about fulfillment. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"This invaluable book leads you around the common traps that so often keep us from pursuing our strengths and passions."
- Marcus Buckingham, bestselling author of Now, Discover Your Strengths "Finally, a book that kills the myth of the daredevil. This is must- read for anyone who thinks they are a breed apart from Bill Gates or other mavericks deified as risk takers. The truth? To do the impossible-whether as an entrepreneur or an employee-minimizing risk and making small bets is the rule rather than the exception."
-Timothy Ferriss, number one New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek

"Rick Smith goes from flat line to the front line of life and shows you how to ignite your career." - Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, author, YOU: the Owner's Manual series

"Packed with actionable insights and inspiring stories, The Leap shows how to not just improve but redefine your career. Rick Smith brilliantly lays out three simple, manageable steps that make it possible for anyone, anywhere, to take the leap and unlock their ultimate potential."
-Tony Robbins

"An inspiring book for anyone who has ever looked at his or her life andwondered: Is this it? The Leap will help you discover your true path to personal and professional success."
-Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor in chief, The Huffington Post

"Extraordinary! I understand what it feels like to leap into a bold new life. But as Rick Smith explains in this inspiring guide, achieving fulfillment in work and in life doesn't require you to jump off a cliff! The Leap captures the steps anyone can take to achieve his wildest dreams while staying true to himself. Try it out. True success is not as far away as you thought." -Sara Blakely, founder, Spanx Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (September 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842569
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Smith is the bestselling author of The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes Can Propel Your Career from Good to Great (Portfolio), and the author of the popular blog, He is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestseller The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, which has been sold into 13 languages and remains one of the top-selling professional career books of all time.

Rick is the creator of the Primary Color self assessment, which has received more than 100,000 pageviews since July, 2009.

He is the founding CEO of World 50, cited as one of the world's most influential senior executive networking companies.

A leading commentator on careers and professional and personal success, Rick has been featured by more than 50 media outlets, including CNN, Time,The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Sirius Satellite Radio, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune and Chief Executive.

Rick has amassed an incredible and eclectic personal Rolodex, having worked or collaborated with dozens of world, business and cultural icons, including: Bono, Alan Greenspan, Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola, Magic Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Larry Bossidy, Martha Stewart, Jon Stewart, Norman Schwarzkopf, Senators Robert Dole and George Mictchell, Steven Colbert, Russell Simmons, Sir John Major and many others.

A serial entrepreneur, he is currently working on the launch of several new companies. Rick currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to anyone feeling stuck in a career or job.
Elisa Robyn
With great success stories and Rick's amazing authenticity, you have a great combination of information and inspiration to live a life you love!
Jodee Bock
The other wonderful aspect of the book is that it's fun and entertaining to read.
Ivana S. Taylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Rader on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was laid off from my corporate marketing position during this economic meltdown and have been reading every business/motivational book I could get my hands on. I heard about The Leap and read it cover to cover in two days. Three days later I picked it up and read it again.

Rick Smith has a wonderful writing style that is easy to follow and understand. He writes about his background and how he made the leap to an extraordinary career as well as profiled others who did the same. I love that all the amazing people he profiled had a big idea that was simple and selfless. After reading through the book and then opening my eyes up to the world around me I realized how right on he was when he wrote that. Most of us try to make "the leap" a lot more difficult than it needs to be and oftentimes get too comfortable, expect to keep climbing the career ladder even though we don't like where we might end up of think money is the answer to all our problems. Rick's book will give you great insight about how to make your strenths and passions work for you. You may just end up happier than you ever have been before!

I highly recommen this book to anyone who is in a rut with their current job, those who are looking for a job or career transition and those who want to branch off as an entrepreneur. The Primary Colors Assessment test is really cool as well. I took the leap this year and now own my own business. Rick's book was instrumental in helping me accomplish this goal.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kim Ann Curtin on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book gives anyone who is either moderately unsatisfied or deeply unhappy with their career a tangible course of action to take so that you may discover the career that you've always hoped you might find; one that makes you fulfilled and satisfied.

It gives you the tools to find out how to create a job so satisfying that you will jump out of your bed in the morning excited to do it! Rick Smith's clear and accessible exercises and assessment show you a strategy to find the path that fits your natural gifts/talents.

In spite of the title The Leap shows us that the majority of those we think of as very successful weren't crazy dare devils that leaped head first without thinking, in fact quite the opposite. The book also provides a link to a free assessment test that is 27 questions long yet very revealing.

My primary color is Blue Velvet, which means Incredible Inspiration. I'm right at the top of the Leadership line but with a 0% enjoyment of execution; yep that's me. My passion is to inspire others to execute. And after reading this I will finally accept that I will never enjoy the more left brain tasks and try to outsource them even more than I do. The books exercises along with your primary color move you right along at getting clear on how to determine the next step which will be using this measuring stick; Is it "Big, Selfless & Simple?"

Now that is where it gets really juicy. Taking your primary color to create something "Big, Selfless and Simple" - well that is where it gets exciting. My mind is racing right now on what I can create that will satisfy these 3 requirements. I'm very excited to see what I will come up with! Not to mention what everyone else who reads this will come up with!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Paperback Reader on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had very high hopes for this book, as I read and enjoyed The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, and recognized it as important work. There has been a movement in these kinds of books instead of focusing on 100 things, to focus on one or two, but have those two be the ones that make a difference. To a degree, that's what this book is, but by reducing the message down so low, it become trite and meaningless.

The message is essentially, do something you really care about, have your idea be simple to understand, and follow it passionately. (You can get this from reading the book flap, it's not exactly a spoiler.) But nor is it all that interesting. If there are people out there who are helped by being told that they should care about what they are doing, then perhaps this book is helpful. Unfortunately, I found nothing new to learn here.

That would make this book four-stars or so, as the book is fine, his examples are good and different enough that you can see the patterns, much like his first book. Unfortunately, the author places his own idea, creating a forum for Marketing professionals, alongside Running the Girl Scouts, Live Aid, and Running Unilever's global brands. Actually, he mentions his own idea as much as all of them combined. I'm sure his thing was wonderful, but I didn't really want to read a commercial for how great the author is, he should have really stuck to the truly great ideas of others.

The combination of bland (though helpful) advice, and his own self-commercialism made this book hard to get through. I'd recommend it only to someone very stuck in their position, and looking for examples of people who got out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elisa Robyn on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are tons of these books out to find the career you want and love your life. Some are full of nonsense. This one makes sense. The book starts out telling us to find our "primary color" or best fit. Good advice, but I kept reading wondering if there is an easy way to do this. Rick Smith provides a free online test that helps with this part. So I went online and found my color. Not a big believer in personality tests I found myself asking "Now what?"

The book then moves into ways people have made changes, and here is where things do get interesting. Smith suggests that break-away ideas, career leaps incorporate three elements: they are big, selfless and simple. The book is full of believable examples, though I have to admit I was still not sold. What idea am I supposed to come up with, and where do I get it?

The last part of the book holds the unique message. Smith tracks the path of career-leaps with an interesting twist. Success does not come from leaping blindly into the night, but from use a spark sequence to get them going. This might mean working half-time at an old job for stability and half-time at a new one to try it out, or perhaps volunteering to test a job for a fit. The sequence means we educate ourselves, experiment with a new situation, and then turn our experience into a new life. This makes sense, and is actually something that makes me think differently about life change. Not just a toe in the water, but also not a dive from the high board.

Finally, Smith takes some time to talk about happiness and life changes. I love this quote "Winning is trying and failing. Winning is finding your own lily pad, your own definition of success, your own rules of happiness. Wining, in a word, is variance, not conformity.
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